‘The Lord told us to’: US pastor says he stole $1m from Christians to remodel home
A Colorado pastor who is charged with stealing more than $1m from his Christian community in a cryptocurrency scheme has admitted to the fraud but argued that God instructed him to carry it out.
Eli Regalado and his wife, Kaitlyn, are charged with creating and selling their cryptocurrency, known as “INDXcoin”, to Christians based in their home town of Denver, Colorado, allegedly telling would-be investors that the Lord had told him people would become rich if they invested, the state’s division of securities announced in a press release on Thursday.
But INDXcoin was “practically worthless” in reality, prosecutors said in the statement. Investors lost millions of dollars while the Regalados used their investments for lavish living.
In a video statement about the charges, Eli admitted that the couple had squandered $1.3m that was raised through cryptocurrency.
“The charges are that me and Kaitlyn pocketed $1.3m,” Regalado said in the video published to INDXcoin’s website on Friday. “I just wanted to come out and say those charges are true.”
Regalado added: “A few hundred thousand dollars went to a home remodel the Lord told us to do.”